JOURNALIST Will Potter has a powerful tale to tell in his book Green is the New Red. The book exposes a world where peaceful protest is branded extremism and governments and powerful industries use fear to silence the concerns of everyday people.
Disturbingly, it’s not a fi ctional work. Green is the New Red presents true stories of environmental and animal advocates in the United States, labelled domestic terrorists to be prosecuted as criminals, even though none have ever harmed a single human being. Their weapon of choice is a camera.
In Australia, Senator Barnaby Joyce recently announced a national effort to crack down on animal advocates who publicise footage collected on factory farms. Joyce said farmers needed to be protected from camera- wielding “vigilantes”. A web search of animal abuse in factory farms reveals it’s the animals who need protection and that in most cases it’s undercover operators who provide evidence of animal abuse – not industry or government.
There are already trespass laws that deal with undercover surveillance and under proposed ag- gag laws even farm workers who are not trespassing could be criminalised for exposing cruel practices. Without surveillance, we have little hope of being informed on what occurs in factory farms, despite more people wanting to know how animals raised for food are treated.
In one of several cases brought to light, a Victorian abattoir was forced to close after video footage obtained from an animal advocate showed the mistreatment of pigs going to slaughter.
The message is clear: outlaw animal abuse, not the cameras that document it. Violations of animal- protection laws are criminal offences and perpetrators should not be able to hide behind closed doors.